Belize City: Police in Belize want to question US anti-computer virus software pioneer John McAfee in connection with the murder of a neighbour he had been quarrelling with, but they say he remains a person of interest at this time and is not a suspect. McAfee, who invented the anti-virus software that bears his name, has homes and businesses in Belize, and is believed to have settled in the country sometime around 2010.
"He is a person of interest at this time," said Marco Vidal, head of Belize's police Gang Suppression Unit. "It goes a bit beyond that, not just being a neighbor." Police officers were looking for the software engineer, said Miguel Segura, the assistant commissioner of police.
Asked if McAfee was a suspect, he said: "At this point, no. Our job ... is to get all the evidence beyond reasonable doubt that Mr A is the one that killed Mr B." "He (McAfee) ... can assist the investigation, so there is no arrest warrant for the fellow," added Segura, who heads the Criminal Investigation Branch.
McAfee's neighbour, Gregory Viant Faull, a 52-year-old American, was found on Sunday lying dead in a pool of blood after apparently being shot in the head.
McAfee has been embroiled in controversy in Belize before. His premises were raided in May after he was accused of holding firearms, though most were found to be licensed. The final outcome of the case is pending.
McAfee also owns a security company in Belize as well as several properties and an ecological enterprise. Reuters was unable to contact McAfee on Monday.
Segura said McAfee had been at odds with Faull for some time. He accused his neighbour of poisoning his dogs earlier this year and filed an official complaint. "There was some conflict there between (them) ... prior to the death of the gentleman," Segura said. "But those dogs didn't have a post mortem to see if the toxicology would confirm what type of poison, if any."
McAfee previously accused the police Gang Suppression Unit of killing his dogs during the May raid. McAfee was one of Silicon Valley's first entrepreneurs to amass a fortune by building a business off the Internet.
The former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in 1989, initially distributing its anti-virus software as "shareware" on Internet bulletin boards. He took the company public in 1992 and left two years later following accusations that he had hyped the arrival of a virus known as Michelango, which turned out to be a dud, to scare computer users into buying his company's products.